Deer hunters reminded of CWD Mandatory Sampling November 13-14

Antlered Deer in the forest

The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds deer hunters that it will be holding mandatory CWD sampling during the opening weekend of the November portion of firearms season, Nov. 13 and 14, for hunters who harvest deer in MDC CWD Management Zone counties.

CWD is a deadly, infectious disease in deer and other members of the deer family (cervids) that eventually kills all animals it infects. There is no vaccine or cure. CWD can be spread from direct deer-to-deer contact, through improper disposal of deer carcasses, and through the environment by deer contacting infectious material from other deer. Hunters play a critical role in helping MDC manage the disease by having their deer tested and following carcass-movement restrictions. Learn more at this link.

CWD Management Zone

MDC designates counties where CWD has been found and counties within 10 miles of where CWD has been found as part of its CWD Management Zone. The CWD Management Zone counties are Adair, Barry, Camden, Cedar, Chariton, Christian, Clark, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Hickory, Howell, Jefferson, Knox, Laclede, Linn, Macon, McDonald, Mercer, Oregon, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, St. Charles, St. Clair, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Sullivan, Taney, Warren, and Washington. Camden, Laclede, McDonald, and Pulaski counties were added to the CWD Management Zone this year.

Mandatory CWD Sampling Nov. 13 and 14

Hunters who harvest deer in any counties in the CWD Management Zone during the opening weekend of the November portion of firearms deer season (Nov. 13 and 14) are required to take their harvested deer or the head on the day of harvest to one of MDC’s numerous CWD mandatory sampling stations located throughout the zone. Sampling and test results are free. MDC staff working at these locations will follow COVID-19 health-safety guidelines.

Hunters must present their deer to a CWD mandatory sampling station within the county of harvest, with a few exceptions. Deer that will end up being delivered to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 48 hours, or deer heads that will be left at the MDC CWD mandatory sampling station for disposal after sampling, may be transported to a sampling station in any county.

Find CWD mandatory sampling station locations online at this link or from MDC’s 2021 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

CWD sampling takes only a few minutes and consists of MDC staff cutting an incision across the throat of harvested deer to remove lymph nodes for testing. Tissue samples are sent to an independent lab for testing. Hunters will be given a card with information on getting free test results for their deer after samples are processed. Hunters can get their CWD test results for free online at this link. Results are usually available within four weeks or less from the time of sampling.

Hunters presenting bucks bound for taxidermy should inform MDC staff. Staff will complete paperwork and inform the hunters about participating taxidermists taking CWD tissue samples. The cape may also be removed from the animal before being taken to a sampling station.

Before arriving at a CWD mandatory sampling station:

  • Field dress and Telecheck deer.
  • Bring the carcass or just the head.
  • Capes may be removed in preparation for taxidermy before arriving at a station.
  • Position deer in vehicles with head and neck easily accessible.
  • Be sure the person who harvested the deer is present.
  • Be prepared to find the location of harvest on a map.
  • If using a paper permit, have it detached from the deer for easy access.
  • If using the MO Hunting app, have permit information available.

Mandatory CWD sampling dramatically increases the number of tissue samples MDC can collect in a brief period of time. The increased number of samples gives MDC scientists a much better understanding of the distribution and prevalence of the disease — where it is and how many deer may have it. It can also help find new cases in new areas.

The opening weekend of the November portion of firearms deer season is the most popular two hunting days for most deer hunters. Hunters take about a third of the state’s total annual deer harvest during those two days. Focusing on this key weekend gives MDC the best opportunity to collect the most tissue samples during a very concentrated time period.